From huge glass domes to conical tents, temporary structures are evolving to suit events year-round. Here are some of the best from recent years

Temporary Structures

When Pippa Middleton chose to create a ‘crystal palace’ for her wedding reception in the grounds of her parents’ Berkshire home earlier this year, it underlined just how far temporary structures have come. Her 350 or so guests enjoyed the reception in a sumptuous £100,000 orangery, complete with its own carpeting, heating and lighting.

The glass structure, which was built by Belgium’s PBI Event Architecture (+32 64 26 00 64), demonstrates what’s possible when holding an event at a location that lacks suitable venue space. Forget damp, mildewed canvas, today’s structures – whether marquees or more solid structures – are hi-spec, flexible affairs.

From Royal Ascot and Wimbledon to Glyndebourne and Glastonbury, the summer season wouldn’t be complete without all those temporary venues that spring up to service crowds. However, Matt Porter, head of sales and marketing at Fews Marquees (01527 821789), says business no longer stops when the nights starting drawing in. ‘Not only can you use today’s premium structures at any time of year, but they allow you to hold an event where there may not be a suitable venue. They are a blank canvas, so they bypass the dos and don’ts that many venues have. You can do what you want for your event.’

Porter points to a gala dinner for 1,250 people that Fews held at Blenheim Palace, which would have been impossible without a huge marquee development. ‘There’s enough space indoors at Blenheim to host those numbers, but with the marquee in place, the event had the best of all worlds.’

The summer season wouldn’t be complete without all those temporary venues  that spring up to service crowds’

Scott Jameson, group MD at GL Events (01332 631601), points out that many of today’s temporary structures are ‘construction-standard’. Some offer cassette flooring (which levels uneven ground), automatic doors and flip-open windows. The weatherproof builds include power and climate-control, toilets and back-of-house facilities, branding and signage.

The company supplied a mixture of 64 hard- and soft-sided structures to this year’s IAAF World Championships in London, including a 25m by 60m media centre. It’s also providing two and three-tier hospitality structures for next autumn’s Ryder Cup in France, and installed Battersea Evolution in London, a year-round structure that’s popular over the Christmas party season.

Fews marquees

With other companies keen to make use of their assets, and clients increasingly open to the idea, we’ve taken a look at the industry leaders’ year-round offerings.

Start with these temporary structures designed for spring and summer